Spinning / Indoor Cycling without dedicated shoes

So .. I’ve been teaching or taking spinning / indoor cycling classes for, I don’t know, 8 or 9 years ..maybe longer. About 2 years in I went out and bought myself a pair of cycling shoes solely for the purpose of these classes, which have held up fantastically by the way.

The other day I was apparently having an off day. I left the house to head to the gym to teach, drove down the road, and realized I had left my trusty spin shoes at home, in the basement.


I look at the clock and realize that there is no way I can make the trip back home but thank goodness I have the shoes in my bag from when I taught the night before. So, I had to make a mad dash into a store by the gym, by a pair of socks, and go with it.

Now … let’s skip to the lessons in this because you all don’t care about the minor details, right? I will say that I learned that night how much the shoes have helped me on the bike and so now I am an even bigger advocate on people buying indoor cycling shoes than I was before!

I have gone through the certifications with Mad Dogg and know all the benefits to wearing these shoes however I will say that ‘feeling’ the difference really brings to light some of the positives that I will discuss below!

Just a few benefits of indoor cycling shoes:

I would list out everything I discovered but it may be a *long* post .. instead I believe that these are some of the big ones that are worth sharing…

The help to correct any sort of alignment issues in the lower half of your body.

I apparently turn my left ankle inward. I occasionally suspected it but that night confirmed it. During a 55 minute class I hit my left ankle on the crank arm 34 times … Granted I would just graze it and not slam into it but I did not realize that the shoes were helping that much with that side. It was both entertaining and enlightening.

Any sort of fast-paced movement are much more efficient in spin shoes.

When you are clipped in you are all but ‘one’ with the pedal (see below). This gives you much more of a push / pull efficiency as opposed to just pushing the pedal. The end result is a smoother ride, more focused energy, and apparently a better ride.

Honestly this may apply to all the movements (and not just fast-paced ones), because even while standing I just did not have ‘trust’ in the pedals … because of what I will discuss next ..

Indoor Cycling Shoes .. clipping in to the pedals and yes, everything gets better :)
Indoor Cycling Shoes .. clipping in to the pedals and yes, everything gets better 🙂

When you are clipped in the shoes are solid enough that you almost ‘extend’ the pedal, giving you a longer platform to pedal on. 

This one is going to be hard to explain … you may have read that and said .. what??? Let me break it down like this:

When I was pedaling in cross trainers I felt like I was ‘tip-toeing’ the entire class .. I could not push downward through my ankle because there was no solid / trusted surface to push onto.

When you are in cycling shoes they are stiff and barely bendable. After you clip in that entire surface all but means now have the entire length of your foot as a firm pedal to push on. When I ride in cycling shoes my entire foot, toes to ankles, is pushing into that pedal because the shoes are their to support it. That makes a big difference in your pedaling efficiency.

With indoor cycling shoes you get more of a 360 push / pull on your pedals.

I actually mention this quite often but yes, I did feel this the other day. While I was strapped in to the pedals the straps still kept coming loose so I was not able to take advantage of the push / pull movements that you get from being clipped in. Indoor cycling shoes allow you to pull up on the back side while pushing forward on the front side .. the end result being that you are able to work more muscles in your legs and ultimately, again, get a more efficient pedal stroke.

Indoor Cycling Shoes ... yes, they will change your class completely!
Indoor Cycling Shoes … yes, they will change your class completely! I have been using this same pair for years now so they are worth the investment!

Buy a pair of indoor cycling shoes and they will last a *really* long time. 

This is not a lesson but a statement of encouragement. I have owned these shoes probably 6-8 years. A little wear on the inside of them but otherwise they are great. I paid $100 for mine but you can get them cheaper if you look around. 6-8 years … 2 – 3 classes a week … $100 … you can do the math on how cheap they are.

The physical benefits of the shoes .. well I was definitely reminded of that in this class!

My recommendation?

Is it obvious? If you taking indoor cycling classes with any sort of routine then consider buying a pair. You can pick them up at your local bike shop, including the clips. Just tell them you are looking for indoor cycling shoes and they will get you set up.

I remember people telling me to buy them but I resisted for a while. They kept jokingly saying ‘you will kick yourself after the fact when you feel the difference’ and yes, they were right. They are a cheap investment considering how much they will change and improve your workout!

If you have questions, let me know! Thanks for reading!

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